From Jiji Press
May 10 2021
TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged Monday to speed up the vaccination of the country’s elderly population against the novel coronavirus, which began in earnest on the day.
“We want to accelerate it to protect citizens’ lives and livelihoods,” Suga said at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament. The comment came in response to a question by Renho, acting leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
In order to resolve the shortage of people that can administer the vaccines, administrative reform minister Taro Kono told the committee meeting that so-called “potential nurses,” who are qualified but are not currently working, will be allowed to participate in inoculations while continuing to receive exemptions from social security premiums as dependents of their spouses.
“Some have hesitated (from signing up to administer vaccine) due to fears that earning more than 1.3 million yen a year will result in losing dependency status,” Kono, who is in charge of the country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, said, in response to a question from Yasue Funayama, policy chief of the major opposition Democratic Party for the People. “This time, people will not lose the status even if they exceed the income level.”
Kono stressed that vaccinations for the elderly are “being held according to the schedule,” adding that all vaccines needed for the drive will reach municipalities across the country by the end of June.